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206          MY    COUNTRY    AND    MY    PEOPLE

influenced the development of certain peculiarities of Chinese
literary style.

Every nation has developed a writing most suitable to its
language.   Europe did not develop  a writing on pictorial
principles because the phonetic structure of Indo-Germanic
words,  with its  comparative  profusion  of consonants  and
infinitely variable combinations, required an analytic alphabet,
and would make the representation of these words by picto-
graphs hopelessly inadequate.   For no system of ideographs
could be used alone, and it was found, as in the case of Chinese,
necessary to supplement the pictorial principle by the phonetic
principle before it could have any important development.
These elementary pictographs were then used in combinations
purely for their phonetic value, and actually nine-tenths of
the over forty thousand characters in Chinese dictionaries are
built on the principle of phonetic combination, with about
thirteen hundred ideographs as phonetic signs. With a mono-
syllabic language, such as the Chinese, which has only about
four hundred syllabic combinations (not counting the tones)
like ching9 chong, chang, this could suffice. But with a Germanic
language  the  invention  of a  new  symbol  for  every new
sound-combination  like  Schlacht  and  Kraft  in  German or
scratched, scraped, splash and scalpel in English would be obviously
an impossible task.   The Chinese language failed to develop
a phonetic script in the Western sense because the phonetic use
of ideographic symbols could suffice.  Had the Chinese been a language with words like the German Schlacht and
Kraft or the English scratched and scalpel, they would have, by
sheer necessity, invented a phonetic script long ago.

The perfect adjustment between the Chinese monosyllabic
language and the written characters can be easily made plain.
The language is characterized by a great scarcity of syllabic
forms and consequently a great number of homonyms or words
of the same sound. The sound pao can mean over a dozen
things: "a package/' "to carry/' "well-filled in stomach,"
"a bubble," etc. Since the pictorial principle was limited in
application to concrete things or actions, and was even then
necessarily complicated, the original word for "package" was
used for its purely phonetic value and "borrowed9* to denote